AAA prediction: Pandemic triggers first decline in summer travel in 11 years

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Summer is officially here, but it looks a lot different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

AAA released its travel forecast Thursday showing Americans will take 700 million trips this summer. The prediction is based on economic indicators and state re-openings. That number is down nearly 15% compared to last July through September and is the first decline in summer travel since 2009.

However, the pandemic isn’t keeping everyone at home. AAA booking trends showed Americans are not only looking for summer destinations and activities, but they’re willing to book plans in the spur-of-the-moment.

In total, AAA predicts 683 million road trips will take place from July to September of 2020. It’s only a 3-percent decline from last summer.

Americans are avoiding air travel and AAA expects the majority of people, 96.5-percent, will drive to a summer destination. Air travel has rebounded slightly since the onset of the pandemic, but overall flying is still down roughly 80-percent as compared to last June.

AAA said weekend vacations are more likely to be booked than extended vacations. Searches for destinations through AAA’s popular trip planner, showed travelers are less interested in places that draw large crowds.

What to do if you are planning a summer trip:

AAA advises travelers to monitor evolving coronavirus restrictions prior to leaving for a visit to another state or city. Public health experts say travelers can protect themselves from COVID-19 by opting for road and camping trips only.

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